A Brief History of ASHB
In February 1988, a meeting was called at the National Research Council of Canada’s headquarters in Ottawa to explore the possibility of establishing a Canadian association of like-minded, building-related organizations. Bell Canada, Bell-Northern Research, Ontario Hydro, Hydro-Québec, Consumers Gas, Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association of Canada, Industry Canada, Minto Developments Inc. and NRCan attended.
This diverse group of organizations resolved to devote their resources to the promotion of intelligent buildings in Canada through the establishment of the Canadian Automated Buildings Association in November 1988. An initial fund of $100,000 was pledged by the Board of Directors and an interim office was supplied in Toronto by the Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers Association of Canada.
Gerry Meade, a senior Ontario Hydro manager was seconded to occupy the post of executive director. Honeywell, a major manufacturer of heating and environmental controls initially occupied the organization’s chairmanship. In 1990 former Bell Canada assistant vice president, Jack Fraser, was appointed president. In 1991, Alan McKinley from the National Research Council of Canada became president of the organization. Over the next 30 years, ASHB achieved several notable milestones in the promotion of automated buildings and connected homes technologies, including:
- In 1988, the association was formed at a meeting involving NRCan and several building-related organization’s in attendance.
- 1995, the association organized its first major collaborative research project focused on home energy and environmental management systems. The $160,000 study involved 16 different funding organizations, including federal and provincial government agencies, manufacturers, and utilities.
- In 1998, the current name of the association, “Association for Smarter Homes & Buildings” was formally adopted, along with an expanded mandate by the Board of Directors to encourage the development, promotion, pursuit and understanding of integrated systems and automation in homes and buildings throughout North America.
- In 1999, Ron Zimmer, an experienced and certified association executive, was appointed by the ASHB Board of Directors to lead the organization. With the expanded mission, the organization expanded across the home automation and intelligent building ecosystem to include organizations in the design, manufacture, installation and retailing of products/services.
- In 2003, ASHB and the government completed the Technology Roadmap (TRM) for Intelligent Buildings Technologies, a collaborative $110,000 research project between industry and five federal government departments and agencies. The project focused upon commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings, and culminated in a final report that provided an in-depth examination of intelligent buildings technologies.
- In 2006, ASHB completed a segmentation study that examined the consumer profiles of those who buy digital lifestyle products and services. Entitled the Connected Home Roadmap, report assisted manufacturers and other vendors that catered directly to end-users to identify resource requirements and potential investment opportunities. In that year, ASHB also integrated the operations of the Internet Home Alliance. The Internet Home Alliance was a cross-industry network of leading companies conducting collaborative research to advance the connected home market. Founded in 2000, the Alliance provided its members with the real-world testing opportunities required to bring their home technology products and services to market more quickly, successfully and cost-effectively. Under the new arrangement, IHA’s collaborative research program was continued under the ASHB umbrella through ASHB’s Connected Home Research Council, which oversaw a wide array of consumer research studies and real-world pilot projects.
- In 2010, ASHB’s collaborative research evolved and expanded into the ASHB Research Program, which is overseen by the ASHB Board. Its scope includes market research for both large building technologies and home systems.
- In 2021, Greg Walker, Senior Director, Research Operations, became CEO of ASHB, succeeding Ron Zimmer.
ASHB is today a leading B2B association for the industry with 360+ members. Browse our member directory here. Read about how ASHB can help you grow your professional network, access influential research, and build industry presence inside the intelligent buildings and connected home sector.